Baby Favorites- Months 3 and 4

I covered some of our favorite things for Josey for months 1 and 2 in an earlier post. I’ll cover some things that have gotten a lot of use in the two months since in this post!

(To find them online, you can click the source link under each photo.)

Playtime

1. Fisher-Price Jumperoo (Rainforest)

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Josey LOVES her jumperoo. It’s similar to an exersaucer (though we still want to get one of those too) in that the seat can rotate 360 degrees, and it has toys all around it for her to play with.

It allows her to jump up and down, which is great for her strong, busy little legs. Kinda wish they made these things for adults.

2. Summer Infant Super Seat Booster

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Similar to the Bumbo seat, this one comes with a tray and toys surrounding it. The tray can come off.

The orange foamy insert is softer and good for little ones. It can come out later, and the green seat can be used as a booster for toddlers.

I’ve been using this as a high chair for Josey when she eats her baby food. It has worked well, but I would rather have a high chair for feedings. This one would be better for dry snacks later on.

3. Bright Starts Take Along Toy Bar (Tiger)

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We use this on Josey’s carseat, and she loves it. It’s a great distraction when we’re loading her into the seat and then into the car. The tiger’s nose is a button that lights up and plays music when you press it.

Feeding

1. The First Years Spin and Store Drying Rack

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We run all of Jo’s bottles, containers, etc. through our dishwasher. They usually come out with water on/inside them, so I pop them onto this drying rack and leave them there until they are dry. It’s big enough to hold everything that goes through the wash.

2. Dr. Brown’s BPA-Free Natural Flow Bottle Warmer

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I LOVE this bottle warmer. When I need to heat up milk to mix with her rice cereal or any other baby food, I use this.

It’s great. You can program it for amounts of time you use most often, and you can also just set it for any amount of time up to 8 minutes. It’s easy, and since it uses steam to heat the milk, you don’t get hotspots like you would in a microwave.

3. Munchkin BPA-Free Soft Tip Infant Spoon

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When I nannied, these were my favorite of all the spoons I used. Still love them for Josey, and since 6 come per pack, two packs of them keep us covered.

4. Munchkin Dishwasher Baskets

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We only use one of these at a time in our dishwasher since I nurse instead of bottle-feed, but when we are using sippy cups, we might need both. I love that it can hold straws out to the side. But for now, I just use it for lids of Josey’s stuff and the occasional bottle when I pump.

5. Bumkins Waterproof Superbib

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I was given several of these bibs from a friend whose children no longer need them, and they are awesome. I used to use these when I nannied, but I didn’t have any of my own. I had forgotten how great they are! The little pocket catches whatever dribbles down, and the bib itself is waterproof.

6. Koala Baby Pullover Crew Bib

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I love this bib and want to get some more. A lot of babies don’t like having a bib on and will try to pull it off. Josey does that sometimes, and with this bib, she can’t.

It’s also great because it’s snug (but not too snug) around the neck, so anything that drips down gets caught. And the bib itself is pretty wide, which covers the belly well.

Miscellaneous

1. Sunshine Kids Buggy Fan

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We  bought this fan for the hot Georgia summers, and our visit to Disney was our first chance to test it out. It works on 2 AA batteries, and they lasted us the whole week in Florida.

Despite the low ratings online at babiesrus.com, we had a great experience with the fan. It has plastic over the spring, so her little fingers couldn’t get caught in it. The fan blades are also protected well from little fingers- even a 4 month old couldn’t fit her fingers in to get hurt.

It doesn’t make a very strong breeze, but it’s enough for a baby to be cooled off a bit. We had it clipped to our stroller, so when it got folded up and thrown in the trunk, we would just take it off and toss it in there too. It got tossed around a bit, but it never broke- pretty durable!

2. Floppy Seat Ultra Plush Shopping Cart & High Chair Cover

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I love this car seat/ high chair cover. Josey is at an age where she gets annoyed at being left in her car seat for long periods of time, but she’s not strong enough to sit up for long without slumping or sliding to the side. She is also at an age where she wants to put her mouth on everything.

This cover is so soft, so when she falls to the side a bit, she doesn’t get hurt. (I will also usually stick a blanket or something around her to help prop her up.) It also covers the handle and all edges so that she can’t teeth on them.

Another feature I like is that there are loops all along the front where you can attach toys and pacis. She has something to do while she sits, and I don’t have to worry about her stuff falling to the floor. It’s great.

3. Bricca Day & Night Light Musical Auto Mirror

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We LOVE this mirror. It was in JoJo’s Easter basket from us, but it was more a present to us than her! I love that I can see her face when I look in the rearview mirror now. I can tell if she needs something or if she’s just being fussy. I can see when she’s quiet if she’s asleep or just being still. It’s awesome.

It also has a remote you slide on your visor (like a garage door opener), which has two buttons. One turns on and off the light (pretty dim), and the other turns on and off the music. Yes, the mirror plays music. It’s a good distraction when she’s gotten herself worked up over nothing and just needs something to snap her focus away from crying. After a minute or so, I turn it back off.

Love it, and couldn’t have done a roadtrip without it!

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That’s all the new stuff we’ve been loving for Josey in the last two months! I’ll update again at six months with her new favorites!

~Meghan

Disney with a Baby

(This post will have a lot of pictures Tom and I took on our phones and posted via Instagram.)

Before I went to Disney a few weeks ago, I looked up how to handle Disney with a baby. I knew that afterwards I would post my own thoughts on the experience, and so here is my first piece of advice:

Just don’t.

It’s not that Disney isn’t great and full of awesome staff and people who like babies. It’s that going into parks day after day, in the heat, with a little baby who needs to nurse and nap is incredibly taxing on both the baby and the parents.

It’s more trouble than it’s worth, and I have vowed not to go back again when nursing. And if I go back with a child little enough to need to nap (probably will), then I would like to stay in a Disney resort so I can easily get back for naps without juggling the parking lot and driving.

That is my best advice- just wait until both you and the baby are in a stage of life where you can actually enjoy the place you’re visiting.

But if you’re going anyway, here are some tips:

1. Buy an adult sized poncho for the stroller. Obviously, this is not necessary if it isn’t going to rain. On our trip, it rained a lot.

Disney sells some pretty high quality ponchos, and I found that they could unsnap on the sides and be resnapped. An adult sized poncho that was unsnapped could be placed over my huge jogging stroller and resnapped in a way that covered my diaper bag and held itself onto the stroller. Score! Totally worth the $7 to keep my baby and diaper bag dry.

2. Buy a fan to clip to the stroller before you go. (We used this one and were happy with it.) Your baby is too little to tell you that they are hot, and inside the stroller under the umbrella, there isn’t a ton of air circulation.

Josey did totally lose it at the parks one day, and we had to give her an ice cube to suck on, which helped. Other than that, it seemed that nursing her and keeping the fan on her, combined with occasional stops in air conditioned areas was enough.

3. Locate the baby centers at each park. Disney has a “baby center” in every park. They all have a different set-up.

Animal Kingdom- You can bring in your stroller with you. There are two private rooms for nursing. There is a large room for changing diapers with many changing tables. And there is another large room where you can give the baby a bottle while other kids can watch a Disney movie/have a snack/color etc. This was my favorite baby center.

Magic Kingom- You have to leave your stroller outside the center. There is a room that is for nursing mothers (or those with easily-distracted bottle fed babies) with about 5 rocking chairs, but it’s not private. There is a sitting area for waiting family members or those giving the baby a bottle. And there is a small changing room that has 2 or 3 changing tables.

Hollywood Studios- You can bring your stroller in with you. There are two small private rooms for nursing that are curtained off, and you can adjust the lighting in them. There is a main room where you can feed a baby a bottle or wait on a nursing mom. I think I remember that there was a tv in there for kids to watch while they waited. There is a small room with two changing tables and a sink as well. This center also has a tiny toilet for kids to use.

Epcot- I didn’t use this one because we were there for so little time that I didn’t nurse at this park.

All of the centers I went into had free filtered water and a microwave to use, which is great for bottle-fed babies. They also all sell diapers, wipes, pacis, baby food, bottles, formula, tampons, sunscreen (for babies and adults), etc. Pretty much anything a mom or baby could forget or run out of and need.

4. Get over the idea that you will use a center to nurse every time. You won’t.

If you’re lucky, your baby is one that can suck down a full feeding in 10 minutes. If that’s the case, you can go sit somewhere discreet and feed the baby.

Or maybe you’ve got a little one who can lay in a sling and eat. Lucky.

I’ve got a baby in the 97th percentile who would be impossible to feed that way, and she takes a while to eat, especially when she’s hot and sweaty (gotta keep her hydrated!).

So for me, it was all about compromise. If I wanted to ride a ride and had a fastpass for it, then I had to accept that there was only one baby center per park, and it was inevitably across the park from where I needed to be.

So I would find the nearest bathroom and settle in to feed her. (I can tell you that the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney has a VERY hot bathroom. Most of the others seemed better air-conditioned.)

5. Take advantage of Fastpasses and RiderSwap Passes. You can read more about it on the Disney site, but basically, you can use your ticket to get a reservation ticket for a popular attraction (like a ride or safari) at a later time. Then, when the time arrives, you just walk up to the fastpass lane, give them your ticket, and go past most of the people waiting in line to a much shorter line.

The riderswap is similar, but it’s for people with children too little to ride.

So, for example, if you have 4 kids, and one of them is too little to ride, you can get a riderswap for yourself and your 3 kids who can ride. After your spouse rides with the kids and you’ve waited outside with your little one who can’t ride, you take your pass and the three kids who just rode (if they want to ride again), and you get submitted into the fastpass lane to have your turn riding it with them.

This is great because both parents get to ride, you don’t wait long, and the kids can ride with both parents (and most want to ride things more than once anyway).

It doesn’t cost extra to do either of those things. Just take your ticket to the fastpass machines beside the attraction and be on your way!

6. Pack a meal/snacks. Parks are famous for overpriced meals and snacks. Disney is pretty amazing in that they will allow you to bring in your own food and drinks, as long as they don’t need to be warmed (with the exception of bottles, which you can heat in the baby centers).

If you’re anything like me, nursing makes you HUNGRY. And having a snack on hand is great.

Also, it will save you oodles when it comes time for lunch. The more people you have to feed, the more you will save this way. And when you do choose to spend money on food, it will be something you really want instead of the least expensive thing you could find in the park.

7. Be willing to sacrifice your plans. One night, my family had reservations to eat at Cinderella’s Castle. I have  a TON of nieces in my family, and I was looking forward to seeing them meet the princesses “in a real castle.”

I was excited to get some pictures of Josey meeting princesses for the first time too, though she would have no idea who they were (and with her affinity for hair-pulling, she might have removed a wig).

But when Tom and I were informed of the time of the reservation, the traffic issues, and the time we would have to pull out of the driveway, there was no way to make it work.

Josey hadn’t napped well that day, and she wasn’t cooperating for us by going down for an early nap before we left. She screamed the whole time I showered. The reservation was for the time she would have her last nursing session that day, and she would need to be in bed an hour later.

It was just too much to ask. So we told our family to have fun without us and skipped Cinderella’s Castle.

We stayed in, had Pizza Hut and watched a show on Netflix streaming, then listened to music and hung out while Jo was able to eat and go to bed on time in a quiet house. I have no regrets.

Another night, we went to the Rainforest Cafe. While my family ate, I hung out in the hot bathroom and nursed. That’s life.

8. Plan ahead! It helps to know what matters to you at the park each day so you can plan for fastpasses and what to do until your fastpass time arrives.

Tom and I would plan out our day with my brother and sister-in-law each night. Then, the next day, we would have a time to aim to be at the park and get our fast-passes.

We would try to hit the most popular ones first so that our fastpass times weren’t in the evening. Then we would have lunch and do the other things that looked fun while we waited. That was a great time to fit in little shows and things with short lines.

Knowing a general idea of what we wanted to do was the difference between walking around all day to ride one or two rides (like we did our first day, at Animal Kingdom), and riding everything we wanted to at the park.

It also helps because you can know where people will be while you’re nursing. They don’t have to sit around waiting because they can ride something while you nurse, meet you, and let you go ride the same thing with the rider swap pass. No one misses out.

9. Put on your happy face. I’m keeping it real in this post because sugar-coating it won’t help you plan. But no one wants to hang out with a complaining sour-puss.

Tom and I had the pleasure of riding a tram with a family that had nothing but negative comments to say about Disney. Our thinking is that you chose to spend your day there- crowded areas, heat, and lines are part of it. What did you expect?

Likewise, you can joke about having to nurse in the bathroom, and you can even really be tired of it by the end of the week. But don’t let it wipe the fun out of your trip. You did know your baby was nursing when you signed up for this, right? You can do it!

Because we were there, I didn’t have to miss out seeing my husband finally enjoy rollercoasters, my nephew turning 9 years old, and my sweet baby getting to spend time with her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

10. Do whatever you can to help the baby cope with the long car trip. Go into Starbucks to nurse so you can all get a break from the car. Let your baby stretch and look around. Bring pacis and toys for the carseat. Make sure the sun isn’t in their eyes.

And when you get home, try to avoid driving your baby anywhere for a while- they could use a break. (After over 25 hours in the carseat in a week, my child didn’t want to go near it for the following two weeks.)

That’s all I can think of right now. Any of you other moms or dads have advice for Disney with a baby?

  ~Meghan

It’s gonna happen

Disney! Josey’s 4-month check up. Josey starting foods! Bronchitis. Asthama attack and subsequent ambulance ride! Turning 27 (tomorrow). I have so much to share with you all!

And I will! But not until next week. I hope you have had a wonderful couple of weeks and are enjoying this lovely weather. I’m sitting inside surrounded by tissues, water, and cough drops. But I intend to take advantage of the pool as soon as I kick this sickness!

I haven’t forgotten my blog. But it’s been cray-cray up in here!

~Meghan

Josey and Dora

I have never seen a 3 month old get so excited by a show. Josey just LOVES Dora the Explorer, much more than she likes anything aimed at her age group.

I discovered it one morning when I was trying to put on my make-up and hold a wiggly and fussy Josey at the same time. I needed her to be still, so in desperation, I turned on the tv and found Dora. She loved it. It was hilarious to watch her interact with the show.

Since then, that is our go-to show for when we need both hands for a few minutes. Call us bad parents, if you must, but I am grateful to find something that makes her so happy when I must use both hands for whatever I’m doing. Even if it’s tv!

Here’s a clip of her watching it and dancing around/talking to Dora:

And for those of you who enjoy comedy, here is Brian Regan discussing Dora the Explorer. (Skip ahead to 7 minutes into the video.)

It is especially hilarious if you’ve ever seen the show before. I can’t watch it with Josey without hearing his voice during the “map” song!

(If the video doesn’t work for you, here is the link. Enjoy!)

~Meghan

New Stove!!

Tom and I have a stainless steel LG fridge that we love. We want to upgrade all of our kitchen appliances, but they’ve been low priority as we have had other areas of our house to focus on.

Until the nasty stove that came with our house died. Actually, the oven died while the stove top still worked.

The people who lived in our house before us apparently NEVER cleaned their stove after cooking, and the result was food so charred to the surface that NOTHING I did in years of cleaning could remove it.

I was eager for a new, clean stove, but I couldn’t justify buying one because it cooked just fine.

I had tried everything. Hired professionals before we moved in. Scrubbed, scraped, and wiped it down. Used every tip I could find on Pinterest. Nothing worked.

And then the oven died. Suddenly our low priority oven became a high priority to replace!

I looked and looked, decided to get an LG stove so the stainless would match seamlessly, and started shopping deals. Since we will have this stove for a long time, I wanted to get one I would love. But I did NOT want to pay full price.

My friend, Jenn, is an appliance shopping wizard. She can get anything for a great price and walked me through it. We ended up getting our new stove at about 25% off including tax, shipping, and hauling away our old one. Heck yes!

It arrived yesterday, after about a month with no oven. Ours has a small oven on top and a regular sized one below that can do convection baking. Woo!!!

There are 5 burners…and they’re all clean!

And the middle burner also comes with a griddle. That was kinda cool.

I’m so excited for a new stove/oven in our house!! I love it and had to share the excitement! Yay!

~Meghan

Being a Mama.

Life is good. I love being a stay at home mom, I’m ready to start taking jobs for photography again, and I adore my sweet little family.

But, in the effort to keep it real around here, I’ll just tell you that being a mama isn’t a Hallmark card.

My house gets messy in no time.

I had to cut my shower short yesterday to get Josey because she woke up and was crying in her crib.

I’m still trying to lose baby weight, but I skipped my run yesterday.

Then I called my husband and said, “I didn’t run today, and I don’t want to talk about it. So don’t ask me about it when you get home.” I’d rather warn him than snap at him out of frustration at everything else in my day being off.

I haven’t worn make-up in two..three?…a few days.

My hair is usually in a ponytail or something even messier.

Most days I don’t know what I’m making for dinner until it’s time to eat.

And I actually begged my three month old daughter to quit crying and just eat yesterday. Then I gave her some Tylenol and a hug. And got out the pump.

I have prayed for patience, strength, and calm.

But in spite of all the craziness going on with a teething, hungry (growth spurt), 16 pound, 7 ounce baby who wants to be held non-stop right now, I can say that I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When she was screaming in my ear for 20 minutes straight yesterday, I just pulled her back so I could see her face and said, “I love you.”

Not because I am some kind of awesome mom or have saint like patience…or have gone deaf and don’t mind the screaming. It’s because it hurts me to see her hurting, and she really must not feel good. My little ray of sunshine doesn’t cry like that often.

And when you’re little and miserable and want to be held non-stop, you need the person taking care of you to look at you with love instead of exasperation. And so, I want her to know that from the very beginning, she has been loved no matter how my day was going.

And that I will pick her over shaved legs.

And pretty hair and make up.

And a clean house.

And a structured day.

And a back that doesn’t hurt.

And sleep.

You always hear that about a mama’s love. And I guess, in that way, Hallmark got it right.

(Just don’t expect my house to be clean if you show up unexpectedly.)

~Meghan

Strawberry Lemonade

Yesterday, Lisa (my sis-in-law) and I put together a little lunch for my mom at Lisa’s house. My brother was able to leave work early and be there. And also in attendance were their four kiddos and Josey.

It was an early mother’s day lunch since we won’t make it out to Covington on Sunday. Lisa made chicken salad and set a beautiful table, and I brought a big bowl of cut up fresh fruit and some yummy strawberry lemonade.

I actually made a HUGE batch, and this is all that was left. I didn’t want to make a punch- just a simple lemonade.

But the color still made it nice and pretty in glasses on the table, and it was much healthier than most punches anyway (which often have sprite/ginger ale, sherbert/ice cream, etc.).

If you want to try it for yourself, here’s what I did:

2 cans of lemonade concentrate

1 carton of fresh strawberries, washed and tops cut off

water, to taste

I combined the strawberries and the two cans of lemonade concentrate in the blender on liquefy. Once it was a nice, smooth mixture, I poured it into a huge bowl.

Then I added water until it was the strength of flavor I liked. I covered the bowl and set it in the fridge to chill overnight and really let the flavors infuse.

That’s it! So yummy and easy.

I think it would be so cute with some lemons and strawberries sliced and floating in it, but I didn’t do that. It was a hit anyway.

If you want a pretty but simple, fairly healthy, bright drink to serve this Mother’s Day (or anytime), try this one out!

  ~Meghan

Life After C-Section

I love being a mom. But I can tell you that c-sections flat out suck.

The recovery is hard and painful. I coughed in the hospital and cried. I laughed when we brought her home, and it sent me reeling in pain.

Nursing hurts because not only is it a painful thing on its own at first, but it also hurts to have the pressure on your incision. So you have to find creative positions in which to feed the baby. Which is especially difficult when people come over, and you want to be modest.

But then, six weeks out, you just start to turn a corner. It hurts less. And eight weeks out, you feel like a different person.

Since then, I’ve only had to use ice packs a couple of times. I still feel pain sometimes when or after I exercise, but I’ve been told it will take until 6 months from the date of surgery before I feel 100% again.

So, when things began to turn around, I started to look in the mirror and judge.

Stretchmarks? Check.

Flab? Check.

Scar? Check.

Loss of muscle tone? Check.

Belly hanging over my scar? Check.

I won’t even go into my weight.

I waver back and forth between self-loathing and pride. I hate how my body looks now, but I am amazed at what it accomplished. I grew a baby – a mammoth baby that was too big to fit through my pelvis- and brought her safely into this world.

I might have stretchmarks, but I sure as heck earned them. I carried a 9 lb, 2 oz, 22 inch baby in my 5’2.75″ frame. DANG. I don’t like the stretching, but I’m proud of what it represents.

I carried a life. I grew a strong, beautiful daughter. I intend to do it again (and again) someday. I don’t regret what I gave up.

But then I look in the mirror and compare myself to the other moms I know that are tiny and fit within weeks of birth. Even some who had c-sections.

At first I felt sorry for myself. And then I decided I was going to kick this fat to the curb now that I was physically capable of doing something about it.

So I started the couch-to-5K program. I hate running, but it seems like I am jealous of every runner I know, so that’s the body I want. This program has actually made it manageable for me so far, though I am doing it on the treadmill for now, thanks to allergies and Georgia heat.

Then, when we went to the mountains, Tom and I went hiking a lot. If you would have told me a month and a half before that I’d be hiking all over while carrying a 15 pound baby girl, I would have laughed you out the door. But it happened!

I’ve also changed my diet, both for my sake and for Josey’s. I’ll go into more of that later. I told Tom that if I don’t get healthy and fit doing this, I give up. It’s donuts from here on out. haha

So, here I am. Three months and some change from having my abdomen sliced open and a watermelon sized baby pulled from it. It’s nice to know that it really does get easier after the first several weeks.

It’s still a mental, emotional and physical battle to get back to a body I feel comfortable with, but I’m making the strides.

And I’ve found that as long as I’m doing what I can to be healthy, I give myself a lot more grace for the fact that I don’t look just how I want yet. I know I’m doing what I can.

If you’ve got a c-section ahead of you and haven’t gone through it before, take heart. It’s hard. But it gets better.

And it’s definitely worth it.

~Meghan

 

She Loves Music.

Josey has loved music since I was pregnant. She used to dance along with me when I would play it in the car or when Tom would play guitar.

Not much has changed except that now we can see her expressions as she hears it. So fun! She LOVES it.

And I think she especially loves all the attention of having her daddy play guitar and sing to her. Thankfully, she likes our music because we don’t play nursery songs so much as stuff we like (everything from punk to John Mayer to oldies). haha

Here’s a video where Tom was playing a song called My Life Story by MXPX, and Josey was having a blast.

I can’t wait until she has her own guitar and Tom is teaching her how to play. That should be pretty cute.

~Meghan

Conversations with Josey

Our Jellybean turned 3 months old Saturday. She seems very chill around other people, taking it all in. People frequently tell us that they don’t believe she knows how to cry.

But when it’s just our little family at home, she has a lot to say, laughs a good bit, yells when she wants something, and kicks around and waves her arms like crazy. And yes, she sure knows how to cry.

And how to fake a cry.

And how to fake a cough, even. Her pediatrician and I had a good laugh when she faked one during a doctor’s visit last Friday. That’s probably the one place she isn’t going to fool anyone.

Here’s a video of Jo “talking” to me and Tom. It’s so funny to us the way that she will make noises as if she is saying separate words and full sentences. We also love her various expressions as she shares her thoughts.

Watch out, world. It looks like this one might be as loquacious as her mama.
~Meghan